Monday, September 25, 2006

Timm's the Season

Yep, it's getting to be that time of year alright! Time to get out and dust off all your rubber bats and styrofoam tombstones, 'cause Halloween is definitely a-comin'.

Bruce Timm's name has become synonymous with Batman and animated Superheroes in general...but like a lot of comics guys that grew up in the 1960's (myself included) the man loves old monster and Horror movies. Had he been born 10 years earlier I'm sure his covers and stories for Warren mags like Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella would by now be both fondly remembered and well sought after.
So to officially open the Halloween season this post will focus on some lesser seen Timm artworks from the Horror and Monster genres.
WARNING --Because of the subject matter some of it may be a little adult in content for the young, squeamish or clothing-conscious (Super-sorry to all you moms out there)
First up are some truly great visions of the Karloff Frankenstein. The bee-yootiful painted portrait (above) almost has the feel of old Aurora model box art. The two others are definitely more in a Mad magazine cartoon-vein, but just as striking artistically.
Besides, it's a Bruce Timm monster art post...who else would I start with? Dracula?

Nah, in both song and story (and my book, at least) Dracula usually comes second.
So here, straight from the 1970s comes Tomb of Dracula Dracula, The Monster of Frankenstein Frankenstein, The Werewolf by night Werewolf and theTales of the Zombie Zombie...a...Legion of Monsters, if you will...

Actually, Dracula --and Vampires in general-- seem to be a recurring and favorite subject of Mr. Timm. Here's two Hammer visions of the Bloodsucker General, (as played by two different actors...Christopher Lee and David Peel) in two very different and illustrative styles.

Here's a Werewolf of sorts, very remniscent in style of longtime Warren Mag cover artist Ken Kelly. (Though the gal with the "tooth of steel" looks like she may be Red Sonja sans top.)

Aaaargh! Franken-zombies! Maybe they just think she's on the O. C. and want her autograph.

A slight variation on the "Blonde and the Big Gorilla" concept. Yeah, Baby!

One of Bruce's pals is fellow monster enthusiatists Henry Gilroy.
Henry is a longtime Hollywood writer who works in both animation and comics books.
In the times they worked together he and Bruce recognized their mutual adoration for old Monster movies and all things Halloweeny. At right is a flier for a party they had together in the 90's (and on my wife's birthday to boot!) done up like a 1960's Famous Monsters cover. (Henry has one of the most insane collection of guest-artists sketchbooks I've ever seen. A few of the killer pieces in this post are courtesy his collection.)

Not really familiar with this character , The Nocturnal(?). But it sure has that 1974 Warren magazine vibe goin' on. Kinda...eerie ...

More early 70s-type stuff. Jack Kirby's immortal (& short-lived) The Demon from the DC comic of the same name. Bruce redesigned the character twice for animation, but in either incarnation he never looked quite this pissed!

And Sabrina's uber-sexy comic cousin (designed by Alex Toth) from the pages of DC comics' House of Secrets.

Given Bruce's love for the macabre it should come as no huge
surprise that when the Batman models were revised
for the new WB show in 1997 the character whose makeover he was the happiest with was The Scarecrow. I can see that (The original BTAS Scarecrow was
way Scooby-Doo). I know that as a kid I would've just found that new face just too hard to look at. Really creepy, like in the same file with the Mummy from Jonny Quest.

A lot of ideas brought to the table on the original Batman: The animated series were shot down by Fox's Broadcast Standards and Practices. One such story that never saw the light of day involved Batman's involvement with a Betty Page-type Vampire babe named Nocturna. The show was in preproduction for the fall 1994 season when the team learned that Fox Broadcasters would never allow scenes that required Batman to be bitten by a vampire or of him later prowling around Gotham searching for blood (which they weren't allowed to show either). The episode was unfortunately shelved at that time, but I'm sure the story ideas and concepts hung around the studio long enough to help inspire the below BT stakin' sketch from 1993.

An animated-style Buffy takes on a similar vampire

This one's gruesome but I love it. It filled the page as you see it here. No cropping...and I'll be damned if I can see any layout or construction lines.

Bruce's Vampire lust continues into this century as he now regularly provides illustrations and covers for Little Shoppe of Horrors Hammer Film related magazine.

Lust for a Vampire is a Hammer favorite of Mr. Timm's, (you really can't lose with Hammer vampire chicks!)... At left is Bruce's hand-drawn video box he did awhile back for his personal VHS tape of Lust for a Vampire. The image of a blood-drenched Yutte Stensgaard stayed with Bruce and she popped up again years later in a pen and ink spot illo he did for Little Shoppe magazine.

But my favorite is still the deluxe one below from a mid-90s sketchbook page.

Bruce --amongst other things--loves to draw beautiful women...and he loves to draw vampires. So it just makes sense he would eventually get to draw Vampirella when the character was ressurected by Harris publications in the 1990's. Here's an original page from A Vampi story he did for her rebirth .

He contributed some great covers too --like this nifty Vampi illustration at right. It's really a shame he never got a chance to do many real horror comic stories since he has such a natural flair for the material. This particular cover image almost has the feel of a 1970's poster.

...And this design is more trippy... and even more like an early '70s poster.

But if there's one piece that's a show-stopper it's this next one. It's my favorite Vampi piece, ever. When I first saw it I seriously thought about quitting the business. Frazetta, meet Jack Davis. Davis...Frazetta.

Woof! Nothing to follow that but

My Ocktober thanks and hats off to B. Timm, H. Gilroy, J. Campana, J. Suggs and M. Fontinelli, without whose help and consideration this post would've been much less festive.


Blogger Robert Pope said...

That Buffy VS. Dracula piece works a lot better in color; all I had seen was the inked version they printed in Comicology. Great stuff all around, and the Vamirella Frazetta/Davis piece is, as you noted, just good enough to make one give up for good. To paraphrase Charles Schulz, "I'll never be Bruce Timm"

10:47 AM

Blogger Robiscus said...

(in Marv Albert's voice)

thats the Vampirella one thats been etched in my memory since you showed it to me years ago.

thansks for posting it chum.

6:20 PM

Blogger Kevin Langley said...

Bruce Timm is amazing, his art from the issue of "Flinch" that he did would've fit in quite well with this post. There's a couple things here I've never seen before, thanks for sharing.

11:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic! I have been a big fan of Bruce Timm for quite a while, and I have never seen pieces like this. Absolutely amazing! Thank you for posting these and I would love to see a Bruce Timm follow-up with any pieces you may not have posted!

Thank You!

2:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those are great. I especially love the leering in the background on that last one.

In the same freakish vein, Coop has a couple of really good Bride of Frankenstein drawings on

7:38 PM

Blogger RuinedJoke68 said...

cool post, i love his stuff.

12:25 PM

Blogger Chad Kerychuk said...

Nice post! Timm's stuff is always a treasure.

Definitely check out Dan Brereton's Nocturnals series. Beutifully painted with great horror/Halloween themed characters.

The image Timm did of The Gunwitch is a treat!

6:27 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home